Hip-HopVibe.com Staff Writer
The West Coast is one of the most-interesting hip hop regions. Even though 90% of West Coast hip hop is California, it’s hard to classify it as one region. California is so huge, there’s no question why it’s considering splitting into three additional states.
Gonzo The Great is among these West Coast rappers trying to make a name for himself. Like so many others, Tupac inspires him, and he believes he has that element in his music. The buzzing rapper used him, plus his older brother, as influence on his new project.
Recently, Gonzo The Great did an On The Rise interview, talking about his new material. Opening up on some of everything, Gonzo has led an interesting life. But, his focus for 2018 has been on his music, as he has put other projects to the side for the time being.
Read the entire interview below:
What is the best way to describe the influence your brother has had on your life? My brother John was real strict on me and never turned his back on me like my father did. After my parents divorce.My brother took me in as young age sacrificing his own time and space to take me in. He always expressed his goals with me, freely. He always preached hard work and dedication, will get you further in life. As he showed me by opening his own construction business all with a high school diploma. He taught me how to do things the right way and never to be lazy and responsible. Take care of what takes care of you. My brother has the biggest heart and provides for literally half of our family. Along with his In-laws. He’s my hero!!
Many rappers are inspired by Tupac, but what ways did he motivate you to create music? He opened up my heart and spirit, to overlook all the “fake” music/artists people support. His words were honest and truthful, his music inspired me to rap. After he was murdered, I wanted redemption, for his legacy. After I cheated death in 2014 again, I was revived by all the negativity coming out about the Tupac’s killing, again. As I was recovering from another knee surgery, in 2017, I had a lot of time to write lyrics and I found an old Makaveli CD in an old 96 Cadillac Coupe De Ville I purchased in West Covina, early that summe,r and I would literally replay all his albums over and over through recovery and seeing the same “sh*t” on the news, about fighting for WAR, BUT CAN’T FEED THE POOR!! That’s what motivated me to keep his activist type rhymes alive to the public ear, simply because if your music avoids these kinds of lyrics, then to be honest, in my opinion, they really don’t care ABOUT THESE INJUSTICES WE FACE BEING MINORITIES IN THIS COUNTRY WE LIVE IN!!
Where does your stage name originate from? When I was in in third grade, my teacher gave me the name Gonzo, because she couldn’t pronounce my full name and it stuck. Last year, I was hanging with my brother’s friend Marlon and he just started calling me “Thug Life” and “Gonzo the Great,” when he heard I finished my Tupac tattoo in Germany, last year!
I ran with Gonzo the Great, because it’s original, it’s 100% ME!! I haven’t changed, I won’t change. I have failed a lot in life, I never asked leeched off anyone, to get where I am at today. My life has changed so many times, but I stay consistence on my goals and dreams. Music has always been my passion
How did you link with Mozzy and E.D.I Mean? I started rapping with a friend, named Russell, from Corcoran, CA, who knew of a guy named C-Dubb in Sacramento who made beats. So, I reached out to him and started buying beats on Soundcloud, after laying down a few tracks with Sacramento rapper, Luni Coleone, on one of his beats. He liked my style and told me he had some Mozzy tracks along with other Bay area artists. The rest is History, one door opened after another and more blessings meeting Kevin Celik, a music engineer.
Meeting Kevin through a mutual friend, was my biggest achievement so far, because Kevin has been around the industry for over a decade and has worked around so many talented artists, after learning his resume. He was willing to help me get better, as I was starting fresh again. My dreams going forward is now and will be to work with those who Tupac did and hear unheard stories about my music Idol, during my ERA! I had expressed this with (KC) about working with EDI and he said he knew him personally. The same day, he was in touch with EDI, then 2 weeks later we did the track, with Mozzy, “Aint no Tellin,” in Studio City, a day after Tupac’s B-day. It has been my biggest highlight in my early career, as this is my first project!
What is coming next for you, in your career? My book 9 Lives, I have stopped writing to focus on the music. I have reached out to Leila Steinburg, and will try and sit down with her about editing the book and get it published early next year.
When will you be releasing your next project? My next music Project, will continue, as I still have tons of artists left on my list I want to work with. Next summer, I would imagine.
Can you let us know where to connect with you on social media? Instagram: Gonzothegreat9lives; Snapchat:
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